Sunday, September 11, 2011

Solitude Interrupted

Well, it's been some time since I last posted. What a time it has been. I've been investing 12-16 hours every day, the last two weeks, in Monster Halloween. Along with the staff, I'm transforming this 92 year old building that had been filled with flowers for 50 years prior to the last five, into the coolest Halloween shop in the Midwest, and maybe America. The transformation has been astounding, and I'm the only one privileged to see most of that progress. The staff is shaping up; I have a core of strong people from last year's store, and some who've worked the last two years, exceeding my participation. The most recent hires, three impressive young women: one, a clothing designer inspired by David Bowie, to replace last years clothing designer, who rumor has it, had some sort of hand in the design of Kim Kardashian's wedding dress; another woman, from a military family, with an abundance of steel in her face (literally) and a radically elaborate neo-gothic style, who trains horses; another young woman of extraordinary beauty, who Twittered as she worked, with impressive presence, who has fans on her blog and Twitter account more than I, by a factor of 100.

The absurdity of my life is profound in a way that I can only describe. I am currently smoking pot and drinking beer at 2:52 AM, listening to my Sing playlist, the only time I've dedicated to writing, in ten days or more, and I can hardly spell - thanks be, to my new Linux Ubuntu Lemur thingamagiggi. I'm sitting under a lamp, at the front desk, my back to the widows open to the sidewalk on Washington Ave, downtown Minneapolis. I've slept an average 6 hours a night, these two weeks, and there is much left to do, before we open, this coming Thursday the 15th. Today's management started at 9 AM, ending at 1:30 this morning, after a conversation with a conservative hire, who was rock-solid for us last year, in which I tried to awaken him to the idea that it is not just the poor who have brought this country to the precipice of ruin - this tenth anniversary of the terror attacks of 9/11. I missed the last train at 1:22.

My tomatoes would be rotting on the vine but for a neighbor. The wine grapes at my sister's are ready for harvest. I'm trying to imagine a way to harvest and ferment the juice, between now and the opening of the store. The store is progressing nicely. As manager, and generally, I am on task and clear and relaxed as I've ever been - women have begun to notice; and yet I have neither a toilet or any functioning drain in my house but for the basement washing machine rigged with pvc to the floor drain - oh and what the fuck, raging around my house Friday morning at two AM, ripping apart the plugged tub and shower drain, wondering how in the fuck it is I came to this weird place, trying to save the world, off-the-grid or something or other, what the...? in my house that has descended into what has all the appearance of a homeless man's abode.

In deference to at least one government program, how thankful I have been for the Hiawatha Light Rail, that I have awakened every morning at my house, since the Halloween store began in earnest, since my Heavenly Morning Glories began to bloom. It looks like I'm sleeping here tonight @ Monster Halloween. Oh right, and I maintain a blog.

Taking another sip of beer at 3:28, wondering about another puff. A starling flew in the back door today, and didn't want to, or have the sense to leave, or it was sent. Several crickets have taken residence. There was a grasshopper on my computer screen today, as I was entering Cinema Secrets products into our point of sale system, liquid latex, face paint, latex zombie prosthetics and the like. Our system is designed and run by Canadians, and it is maddening. Somehow, we chose a Canadian web-design firm to handle the HD Mask website, as well. As Creative Director, I've given these Canadians as clear and concise direction as I am capable of, and they have consistently returned, asking me to resend documents, and complaining that they haven't received adequate direction, even as they betray that they haven't actually read the slim trail of emails, or the content on the website they are designing. They've done a decent job otherwise, from an engineering aspect, except for the spacing thing between words and punctuation, on certain pages, and the squashing of certain product images. I met the designers of our Monster Halloween point of sale system, this past January, in Houston at the Halloween Expo. They talked of vast changes to the website, but it was clear today as I was entering merchandise manually, which I shouldn't have to do, that they haven't done a damn thing with the site but make it more inefficient, which would be an impossibility if not for the changes that were made last year, at our oft-repeated and almost as often ignored request. I have an employee who is brother-in-law to one of the store owners, who is a nice guy and who I like, but he doesn't always listen well, he's too often looking for a short-cut, and he doesn't always bother to measure or plumb or think things through, who I am relying upon for certain construction projects, because I'm manager and I built the stairs and the desk and the back door but I can't build the store myself.

Pack another, at 4am. Crack another. Staff showing up at 10. What was my point? Oh yes, I manage a Halloween store, full of fossil-fuel derived replicas of archetypes, time periods and fantasies. I'm looking now past a collection of beer bottles at a plastic valkyrie, perched upon blue plastic crystals, winged with a sword like a gun and a shield that isn't as big as either of her breasts, with a diameter equal to her waist, thigh-high white tights with a golden fringe, with a golden waist-clasp with a piece of purple fabric hanging in the front and the back, retrieved from the ample remains of last years pile of Miami merchandise, apropos and absurd but meaningful nonetheless. She watches over the desk.

Even the crickets have gone to sleep. Oh wait, there's one, further afield than before. Now he's letting go. I found a harmonica in the building. What a gift that has been, a world of sound I've never heard. I've been thinking about a band, and a Halloween party. That would be fun. But all I do is sing and dance. I drum and play this mouth harp, but like just about everything else I do, I do alone. What do I know about music? And yet here I find myself, managing a Halloween store at the heart of this metropolitan region, in the twilight of this great Empire. And now there are two crickets out there in the field, a call and response. Hmm, what a trip, this life. I think I'll crack another, and puff, just because. At five, going on six.


Justin said...

Save the world? I interpreted the point that you were trying to save yourself by no longer contributing to the destruction of the world, even if it meant living in a less than spit polished and shined up abode, in fact, would mean precisely that.

If anyone has visions of saving the world, they are in for a world of disappointment. It is not up to each of us to save the world or unmake all that is made wrong, we did not ask for that, and we cannot do it. It is enough just to live and to live.

William Hunter Duncan said...


Taking this house off the grid and growing enough food on this lot to get me through a winter is for me a lot like saving the world.

I know as well as any how little can be saved.